For the first time it is possible to gauge the relative performance of EU Member State skills systems and, in doing so, contribute to the policy discourse on skills, employment, and growth. Countries need to equip their workforce with the appropriate skills for their labour markets; to do so, they need the right policies. The ESI helps understand which policies work, highlighting trends shaping skills systems across the EU. It allows analysis of a skills system in three different areas: skills development, skills activation and skills matching. Skills development assesses the effectiveness of compulsory and post-compulsory education. Skills activation examines the transition from education to work. Skills matching shows to what extent skills are matched with an appropriate job. The report presents findings from the 2018 ESI update and provides in-depth analysis including individual Member State performances.